Specials: Konami goes old school and Konami goes new school. There's something for every taste at the Konami booth this year. And really, who would turn down girls in bikinis wrestling in mud?
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2)
Stepping out from the confines of terrorist facilities and jumping straight into a plant-consumed labyrinth, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is coming. Taking on the series' biggest challenge yet, famed video game creator Hideo Kojima is once again inspiring a tale of Snake: this time set in 1967 somewhere in a jungle of the Soviet Union. This time though, Konami is discarding its standard radar function. Replacing this function are certain handheld items that will enable Snake to review a map for enemy placement or a device that detects the presence of enemies by way of the controller's vibration. The trick is, these outdated wares (the game being set in the 60's and all) relinquish battery power every time they're in use. More interesting, however, is that Snake will not only need to hunt for food (which consists of putting to sleep alligators or snakes and then gutting them to death with a knife), but now Snake will also need to utilize a variety of stealth suits to match the ever-changing environments. With a tree bark outfit, for instance, Snake can press himself up against a tree to disguise himself. Slap on some tiger striped wear, and he can better blend into weeds and shrubbery. A meter that displays the proficiency of just how efficiently "hidden" Snake's cover tactic works will strike the balance between life and death situations, in which Snake will have to face. One of the absolute best things to come out of this year's E3, Snake Eater's release is sneaking up on fans in November.
Silent Hill 4: The Room (PS2, Xbox)
Evil waits. It lurks. And it endures: just like in Konami's quickly growing franchise that has shocked millions already, and is now planning to shock millions more in their upcoming fourth iteration of the series. Silent Hill 4: The Room will take place in leading character Henry Townsend's apartment. Trapped inside with no escape (and a few too many unbreakable locks on his door), Henry is able to peek through various peep holes while situated in a first person view. While in this exploration mode, he'll view killings going on from the outside of his apartment. If that's not strange enough, the only way he'll find himself getting to an "outside" world is through portals he'll find allocated from within his apartment. These take him directly into the alternate universe of Silent Hill where he can also check into a first person view. Here, Henry can also select weaponry from an in-game directive for the first time to battle enemies that will pop out from within the walls to scratch at the outer surrounding, and even peel off and able to fly toward Henry to stick their hands inside his gooey chest in order for him to get him deader than the dead they already are. Silent Hill 4: The Room will be available this September for the first-ever simultaneous PlayStation 2 and Xbox release.
Neo Contra (PS2)
Before hitting the Konami booth, I was a bit skeptical about Neo Contra in its new 3D perspective. This is because previous Contra efforts on PlayStation also strayed from the side-scrolling formula and were found to be unplayable in the process. However, this game is being developed internally at Konami where the last solid side-scrolling game, Contra: Shattered Soldier, came from, so there was hope. And, that hope turned into faith upon playing the E3 demo of Neo Contra. The gameplay is just as fluid and, due to the isometric perspective, players are given more freedom in terms of movement. There's also additional freedom among weapons since players are able to able to switch between three different guns, including Spread Gun, a fan favorite missing from Shattered Soldier. This is good because the enemies, especially the bosses, are intense and that's how it's best to describe the entire game. Neo Contra may look new, but it's just as fast, fluid, and furious as its predecessors and arrives in stores this November.
Gradius V (PS2)
Gradius V is unlike Neo Contra in that it's sticking to the old-fashioned 2D look, and there's nothing wrong with that or this game. Both the graphics and the gameplay are what Gradius gamers have come to expect from this series. But there's also a dose of new features that old and new players will be foaming at the mouth over: co-op for two players and national high score internet rankings. The two-player mode really adds a new dimension to this 2D gameplay, and even though partnering with an inexperienced friend will cost you lives since they're shared, it's still more fun to fight aliens and aircraft this way. It's not going to support online multiplayer or go online in any way despite the internet ranking feature. Instead, a code is given and players must go online through a PC to post their score. It's definitely still a cool idea and should help expand the lasting appealing of the game's solo mode. Given the two new features and solid side-scrolling gameplay, Gradius V looks golden for gamers that want to go retro.
Suikoden IV (PS2)
Konami's long running Suikoden RPG franchise hit the PlayStation 2 for the first time two years ago, and was met with much critical acclaim. Named as 2002's RPG of the year by most, that success has apparently led to the franchise's next edition, Suikoden IV. Suikoden IV, a sequel to Suikoden III, will follow the exploits of Tal and his claim over the Rune of Punishment 150 years before the PlayStation's first Suikoden tale ever began. New to Suikoden IV will be a few alterations in III's battle formula. Not focusing on just ground attacks anymore, ship-to-ship warfare will be made a big deal of in this story (reminiscent of Skies of Arcadia). Also, the six team battles from Suikoden III will now be reduced to just four to make battles not just easier to manage, but quicker too. So far, the battles themselves will provide a variety of fabulous magical attacks involving enormously detailed explosions amongst other elemental effects, aside from the regular ones (which, depending on what offensive ability you pick could have an effect on the enemy or not). With this intuitive and strategic battle system, Suikoden IV will be on its way to shelves sometime this fall.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (PS2, Xbox, GameCube, GBA)
Whoa, major shell shock, dude! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2, the follow-up to last fall's cel-shaded Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles two-player beat 'em up game, is getting itself a spot on game shelves through Konami once again this fall. Not a whole lot different from its previous entry, this second outing will now allow for all four Turtles' characters to join in on the action through both co-op story play and a wealth of versus type modes. Through the game's action, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo can be selected to bring the hurt to a variety of enemy types using their signature moves taken from the cartoon, whilst also avoiding traps (falling spikes and exploding barrels) and leaping around pits. Grab a pizza and four friends to prepare to shell out the green for this fall's gnarly arcade-like sequel, dudes and dudettes!
Rumble Roses (PS2)
Women have been butting their heads into our manly business long enough! First, they wanted to work, then they wanted to sign up for the army, then they wanted to become the next President. And...I can't think of a reason why they shouldn't be either. Men and women may have different genders, but history has proven that they can do the same thing men can do, and sometimes better. What's next for them? Konami has that answer, in the first all-female wrestling game, Rumble Roses. Though it's a bad analogy to compare what women can and can't do when contrasted with a female wrestling game in a male dominant field, what the women don't know won't kill them. Heh, heh, heh... Anyway, partnered with the renowned wrestling development team known as Yuke's, Konami's Rumble Roses is not going to be just a wrestling title that will boost its level of sex appeal, but will also be a unique one in that it will introduce a grappling system that will enable importance in maneuvers and taunts. As each scantily clad female warrior changes their actions in the ring, their fighting style options along with clothing and their personality will change along with it. Planned with a mud-wrestling mode, a "hands-free" CPU vs. CPU mode, and plenty of breasts, butts and lingerie to wear, Rumble Roses will undress itself in November.